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Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2633163
04/15/17 06:57 AM
04/15/17 06:57 AM
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I usually post on the adult beginners forum, because I think I will always consider myself a beginner, but since I lurk here often, so I will introduce myself. I am Nancy, from Saint Louis (USA). I took piano lessons as a child for a few years but did not make the most of that opportunity. I also played clarinet in marching and concert band in high school but after that gave up "music making" while I went to school, established a career and then married. In my 50s, I decided I really wanted to play the piano again and started taking lessons at the music school of one of the universitys here in town and have been at it ever since. I absolutely love it--love the journey--the practicing, everything about it. So many of my friends don't get it--they keep asking me why I am working this hard--what I am going to do with this skill. I have no illusions about my playing. I know I will never be really good but as long as it gives me joy, I will continue. When my husband died several years ago, the piano provided so much solace. New widows tend to make some initial move/ take a big trip/ something to try to heal. I bought a 1929 Steinway M that had been completely rebuilt by Premier Piano in Walker, Iowa. The man who started this company was the technician for the St. Louis symphony. The piano is just a dream and I absolutely love spending time playing it every day. I enjoy meeting so many interesting, like-minded people on the Piano World forums.

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Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2635133
04/21/17 04:07 PM
04/21/17 04:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1
Wisconsin, US
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Wisconsin, US
Well, I'm looking for an excuse to post!

I've been lurking on these forums for years, finally made an account.

Short history: Grew up in Germany. My Dad was trained on organ, but played some mean piano too. Worked in Christian music production, so I got to see a lot of the back-end of making CDs, etc.

Got a B.Mus. in Piano Performance from Lawrence University. (Is this sounding too much like a resume? eek )

After graduating in 2014, I started a full-time independent piano studio.

The stuff that doesn't go on resumes as much: I did a buttload of jazz and composition in college (and before), and really try to bring all that into my teaching.

My youtube channel has some of my playing.
Barber's Sonata is the coolest piece, although I don't feel like I do it justice. My proudest performance would be Brahms Op. 119.

I've been spending this year doing a wicked amount of work writing pieces for my students and producing playback tracks for them. I've published 24 of them so far...

I recently have been looking at these forums cause I'm about to take the plunge and get my first grand! Somewhere around 5 grand is all I can afford right now, but it'll be nice to finally play on a grand again (have been practicing on uprights and digital since college).

I guess I should get back to work, I'm at my studio right now.

So long!

Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2635629
04/23/17 11:21 AM
04/23/17 11:21 AM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1
San Francisco
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Thanks for the invitation to introduce myself. I just joined. I have played the piano since I was six and studied all my life. I am in the category of passionate amateur.

Right now I am working on Grieg's Piano Sonata. Plus Bach's English Suite in C minor, a Prelude by Rachmaninov etc. The Grieg piece is lengthy and full of beautiful melodies and strong rhythms.



Dan Joraanstad
“The piano keys are black and white
but they sound like a million colors in your mind”
― Mena
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2637413
04/28/17 05:27 PM
04/28/17 05:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 10
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Hi I'm Chris and I have a question

Out of these three concertos: Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor, Franck Symphonic Variations and Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No.1 in G Minor, what is the order of difficulty?

Thanks

Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2637744
04/29/17 05:39 PM
04/29/17 05:39 PM
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Posts: 10
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Hi I'm Chris

Out of these three concertos: Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor, Franck Symphonic Variations and Mendelssohn Piano Concerto No.1 in G Minor, what is the order of difficulty?

Thanks

Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2640430
05/05/17 05:21 PM
05/05/17 05:21 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 2
US
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gesine Offline
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Hello. I've been lurking about 6 months now and honestly I just joined so it would be easier to see what I've read and haven't read on the forum, which doesn't happen when you're just a guest. A poor reason I know, but now that I've joined, I thought I'd stick a toe in the water to see how it goes.

I played trumpet in high school. I didn't really want to teach high school band, but I really liked music. My band director found a program called Music Therapy which sounded quite interesting to me. So off I went to college, a Music Therapy major. The first thing I found out was that trumpet was no longer my main instrument, all Music Therapy majors had piano as their main instrument. So even though I'd never played piano before, I was now a piano major. I had 2 semesters (1 school year) of class piano to learn the basics taught at an accelerated rate for us college students. After that I was given a staff piano teacher for half hour lessons every week. She started me out with several books: Schumann's Kinderszenen and Album fur die Jugend, Chopin Preludes, Mozart's Six Viennese Sonatinas, and the dreaded Bartok's Mikrokosmos Vol 3. So you can get an idea of where a year of class piano will take you. I took lessons from her for 3 semesters (1.5 school years) then dropped out of college, got married, and left music behind me, or so I thought.

That was 1974! About every 10 years I'd get a yearning to play the piano. I still had the trumpet in my closet, but I never got a desire to play that. And while at college, I never really took the piano very seriously because I thought of myself as a trumpet player. So here I was with yearnings that I tried to fulfill. Once we rented a piano, but we had to move and the piano went back to the store. Once my husband became a minister for a small church and they were excited that I played the piano. So I became the church's pianist. They had a little 61 key electric piano I took home and practiced like crazy to be able to play on Sundays. They were lucky to get the melody and base line in the hymns, they didn't seem to mind. It was hard to get 5 or 6 hymns ready every week. Then we moved on from that little church and so even my little 61 key piano was taken from me. When my mom died I got a small inheritance, just enough for a Clavinova, I forget the model. But it was great and I played quite a while with that. Then one day I was playing my favorite Chopin Prelude, #15. I played it beautifully, by the end I had tears of joy from the beauty of it all. I thought well I will never play it that good again, I may as well stop. My conscious mind meant stop for the day, but my subconscious assumed that I meant forever, so even though I had a piano, I stopped playing.

I just recently took up the piano again. So far I've just been reading through all my music starting at level 1. Right now I'm in Alfred's level 5 Masterwork Classics. I'm still able to play most of the songs straight through without too much effort. I figure I haven't hit my level yet, the level of my college music. I'm enjoying it. But I'm ever so old now with health issues as one gets, so I am trying to be careful as well.

I apologize for the length of this rambling, but it was fun for me to remember my musical journey. I will probably continue to mostly lurk as I'm not very talkative. Well, reminiscing aside!

Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2647122
05/25/17 11:59 PM
05/25/17 11:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 13
Texas
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hilizanne Offline
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Texas
Hello my name is Hillary. I am not used to forums and I was about to just give up when I finally found this space to write! Yay!

The reason I am here is because I have no musical people in my life. None. It's like I am speaking a foreign language that no one else speaks. I tried to talk to my husband and he just told me he is not interested. He is blunt to a fault. Well there is one person who I can talk to: my piano trainer/technician, but he only comes by once a year.

The last time I was on here I was researching a piano purchase. I planned on buying a Yamaha c-series ( I think they are something else now) used, but couldn't find one used. Was just about to purchase a new one when I found out I was pregnant with baby #3, so I went with the more economical choice:used Kawai Kg-3C. That was almost 8 years ago.

About me: took lessons from 2nd-12th grade. In high school had a few performances on public radio and TV, art shows, but only because of my age. Went to college as Bio major, music building very far away, but did take 2 semesters of piano for fine art credit. Med school played on a 4 octave keyboard for the first year, then didn't touch a keyboard (well maybe once a year at my parents' house) for the next 6 years. Bought my own upright piano in 2003 with my first doctor paycheck, but again didn't do much with it. Work and family got in the way. I also had convinced myself that I wasnt any good and the only reason I was able to play what I had was because I am a fast learner. I still think this might be true. Anyway, new house with a big space 9 years ago and I finally got my grand, which I am finally doing ok at playing for about the last 2 years, maybe since I turned 40. I am lucky really to get 30 min a day in though.

I have spent so long just playing for myself that I have no perspective. I told someone the other day "I almost have this one memorized. " when he asked why, I couldn't answer. I tried recording myself but the piano sounded out of tune on the recording (it's not). I have no teacher or even a friend who would know if I am good or bad. My piano technician bought a book for me "Playing the Piano for Pleasure" by Charles Cooke. This book has helped me a lot with my practice.

Questions I have: does anyone perform just because? Where do you go? How do you know if it's appreciated? Do any adult amateurs have recitals or is that cheesy?

Where can I find someone to critique me? Do I want someone to critique me?! Do people use this site for that purpose?

Also, why should I play or keep playing? I guess I need encouragement. I know these topics have probably been covered at length somewhere on this forum already, if somebody could point me in the right direction that would be great.

My repertoire: mostly Chopin. I love his music so much that I pretty much decided with my lack of time I would just stick with him.
Can play: Nocturne Eflat major, Nocturne F minor, polonaise A major, Ballade A-flat major
Also Beethoven Pathetique Sonata
Working on Nocturne Csharp minor #20, also Debussy Claire de Lune
Should resurrect Joplin Maple Leaf Rag
Soon will start the first Ballade

There are lot of others I could get back but I don't really want to: Chopin Mazurka, prelude, waltz, etc. Rachmaninoff Prelude C#minor I think. A few Debussy. I just am out of time. And if you read to the end of this, I bet you are also!

Any help is appreciated!


Hillary
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: hilizanne] #2647192
05/26/17 09:53 AM
05/26/17 09:53 AM
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Posts: 11,500
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by hilizanne

About me: took lessons from 2nd-12th grade. In high school had a few performances on public radio and TV, art shows, but only because of my age. Went to college as Bio major, music building very far away, but did take 2 semesters of piano for fine art credit. Med school played on a 4 octave keyboard for the first year, then didn't touch a keyboard (well maybe once a year at my parents' house) for the next 6 years. Bought my own upright piano in 2003 with my first doctor paycheck, but again didn't do much with it. Work and family got in the way. I also had convinced myself that I wasnt any good and the only reason I was able to play what I had was because I am a fast learner. I still think this might be true. Anyway, new house with a big space 9 years ago and I finally got my grand, which I am finally doing ok at playing for about the last 2 years, maybe since I turned 40. I am lucky really to get 30 min a day in though.

I have spent so long just playing for myself that I have no perspective. I told someone the other day "I almost have this one memorized. " when he asked why, I couldn't answer.

Questions I have: does anyone perform just because? Where do you go? How do you know if it's appreciated? Do any adult amateurs have recitals or is that cheesy?

Where can I find someone to critique me? Do I want someone to critique me?! Do people use this site for that purpose?

Also, why should I play or keep playing? I guess I need encouragement.!

If you love classical music and the piano rep, you'll keep playing, no matter what. Even if you don't have a piano. Incidentally, I have a somewhat similar résumé to yours, except that I never owned a piano until 7 years ago, when I finally bought one (a digital). During the decades when I had no easy access to any piano, I'd just play on any one that I came across, no matter what its condition, whether or not it was in public.

Unlike you, I never had any inclination to perform, though I did give a couple of lecture-recitals at one time, when I was working at a place where I could use the upright they had. But I have been performing regularly for the past five years, for my own (and hopefully, my audience's) enjoyment and erudition. The opportunity came my way, and I took it: I arrived early at the lecture hall where I'd started attending for educational meetings, and tried out the grand piano there, and suddenly discovered I had an appreciative audience grin. And I was asked to play again next time....People seem to enjoy it, and some have even asked me about how to start learning to play, though most had never knowingly listened to classical music before, and certainly not live, until they heard me perform. That was enough incentive for me to keep on with my monthly recitals.

So, just play on any public piano you come across (or ask permission, if it isn't for public use), and you might well get noticed thumb.

As for criticism, you can always post your recordings here if you like - in one of the many recital threads or in Members Recordings. Yes, people use PW for that purpose, and some only for that purpose. Just be aware that you might get feedback that is negative as well as positive, unless you post them in the Adult Beginners Forum recitals threads.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: bennevis] #2647290
05/26/17 02:06 PM
05/26/17 02:06 PM
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Posts: 13
Texas
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hilizanne Offline
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Texas
I hope I am replying to @bennevis. I again am not an accomplished forum writer.

I don't think I have a strong inclination to perform. I don't need extra work or money, but just sitting in my house for years playing alone gets old. I just really think the music is wonderful and beautiful and perfect, and I have no one to share it with. And when I do share people humor me or do not know what I am talking about. Chopin has so much range, soul, and even humor. I am reading a biography of him now and hoping I don't find out something about him that I didn't want to know.

Spontaneous performances are a good reason for memorization. I have been disappointed in people many times after I played a classical piece to have them say, "That's really good. Can you play (fill in the blank easy popular piece)? I heard someone play that before and THAT was really cool." So depressing.

I am not sure I am ready for full blown criticism, although I found a review of one of my old concerto competitions. The judge assigned me third place. The only thing was, there were only 2 competitors! I survived that intact so maybe I could take it.

Thanks for your reply.


Hillary
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: hilizanne] #2647298
05/26/17 02:29 PM
05/26/17 02:29 PM
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by hilizanne

Spontaneous performances are a good reason for memorization. I have been disappointed in people many times after I played a classical piece to have them say, "That's really good. Can you play (fill in the blank easy popular piece)? I heard someone play that before and THAT was really cool." So depressing.

It's the reality of today's culture - pop(ular).

The USA has a different culture of piano, compared to the UK where I now live. Here the general public associates acoustic pianos with classical music, and keyboards with pop/rock/jazz, and everyone (whether involved with or knowledgeable about music or not) knows about the grade exams (from ABRSM, Trinity et al) that almost all music students do, which is classical-based.

In other words, when I play classical music on acoustic pianos, nobody ever asks me if I can play pop - or jazz - instead. If they don't like the music I play, they can walk away. It doesn't bother me if people don't like my music - after all, if someone was to start singing some pop song, I'd probably walk away as far as possible..... grin


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: bennevis] #2647313
05/26/17 03:23 PM
05/26/17 03:23 PM
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NYC
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I played a video of myself playing Chopin and the person watching asked it I wrote the piece. I almost started to cry.

Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: hilizanne] #2647418
05/26/17 07:51 PM
05/26/17 07:51 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 271
Phoenix, AZ
agraffe Online sad
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Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted by hilizanne
Chopin has so much range, soul, and even humor. I am reading a biography of him now and hoping I don't find out something about him that I didn't want to know.


Hi Hillary, what is the biography of Chopin that you're currently reading? I read most of _Chopin's Funeral_ but had to put it down because of the unsavory portrait it depicted of the great master. I was not ready for the gulf between the tenderness of his music and the irascibility of the man. I would encourage you to lay aside that biography, because you will learn more about Chopin through his own music than through anyone else's (of necessity) derivative prose. It is because of the music, after all, that the prose gets cranked out as it does.

I like Charles Cooke's book, referenced by you above. It has some good pointers on technique and is written in a lively style. Consider also _The Piano Shop on the Left Bank_ by Thad Carhart, for cultivating an enthusiasm for pianos and playing the piano and the place of piano in a full life. There are other books, which a search here on "Nonfiction Piano Books" (for example) will in part reveal, and you can leaven your playing alone at home by visiting these forums and partaking of the passion that animates all of us here. Welcome. It is not at all uncommon for a devoted piano player to have nobody else close by with whom to share this gift.

Last edited by agraffe; 05/26/17 08:12 PM. Reason: refined search criteria
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: jondavwal] #2647503
05/27/17 04:36 AM
05/27/17 04:36 AM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 13
Texas
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hilizanne Offline
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Texas
Originally Posted by jondavwal
I played a video of myself playing Chopin and the person watching asked it I wrote the piece. I almost started to cry.


Yes that would truly be a moment for which there are really no words. Or the fewer words, the better! "No, but thank you."


Hillary
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: agraffe] #2647505
05/27/17 04:52 AM
05/27/17 04:52 AM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 13
Texas
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hilizanne Offline
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Texas
Originally Posted by agraffe
Originally Posted by hilizanne
Chopin has so much range, soul, and even humor. I am reading a biography of him now and hoping I don't find out something about him that I didn't want to know.


Hi Hillary, what is the biography of Chopin that you're currently reading? I read most of _Chopin's Funeral_ but had to put it down because of the unsavory portrait it depicted of the great master. I was not ready for the gulf between the tenderness of his music and the irascibility of the man. I would encourage you to lay aside that biography, because you will learn more about Chopin through his own music than through anyone else's (of necessity) derivative prose. It is because of the music, after all, that the prose gets cranked out as it does.

I like Charles Cooke's book, referenced by you above. It has some good pointers on technique and is written in a lively style. Consider also _The Piano Shop on the Left Bank_ by Thad Carhart, for cultivating an enthusiasm for pianos and playing the piano and the place of piano in a full life. There are other books, which a search here on "Nonfiction Piano Books" (for example) will in part reveal, and you can leaven your playing alone at home by visiting these forums and partaking of the passion that animates all of us here. Welcome. It is not at all uncommon for a devoted piano player to have nobody else close by with whom to share this gift.



I have 2 books on Chopin. "In Search of Chopin" by Cortot and "Chopin: Pianist and Teacher" by Eigeldinger. I did read a few things on the Internet about Chopin while looking for recommended books, decided not to read more, but I afraid I am compelled. Perhaps I will become busy and never finish. If these books contain gross inaccuracies I will not read them.

I will look for the other book you mentioned. Thank you for the encouragement.


Hillary
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: hilizanne] #2647506
05/27/17 05:08 AM
05/27/17 05:08 AM
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Posts: 1,460
Spain
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Albunea Offline
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Spain
Originally Posted by hilizanne



Questions I have: does anyone perform just because? Where do you go? How do you know if it's appreciated? Do any adult amateurs have recitals or is that cheesy?



Hello hilizanne smile You might like to have a look at this:

Spanish-Latin American Themed Recital: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2642416/1.html

There are many Recitals on this forum so you can give it a try and see if you enjoy it. It's clear that for some people they are very enjoyable and recitals give them a sense of purpose, which is what you want. I think you'd fit perfectly in these recitals. There are pianists who have been playing only for some months and others who've played for more than 40 years...so there's a lot of room in there. smile Can you believe nobody has chosen any Turina yet??? laugh


Maybe that particular Recital is not good for you at the moment, but then you can start thinking of whatever piece you want to play for the next General Recital (in some months' time). Maybe Clair de Lune??? I never get tired of hearing that one.

General Recital: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2643447/recital-46-may-15-2017.html#Post2643447


In this section of the forum (Pianist Corner) there are recital sometimes, but not often. Most Recitals are in the Adult Beginner section. All pianists are welcome there, but please just don't get scared if we ask you if you've written some Chopin's piece laugh (I'm a mature beginner myself). If we think of it, Chopin wrote lots of things after all...

Last edited by Albunea; 05/27/17 05:21 AM.
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Albunea] #2649058
06/01/17 03:10 AM
06/01/17 03:10 AM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 13
Texas
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hilizanne Offline
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hilizanne  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 13
Texas
Originally Posted by Albunea
Originally Posted by hilizanne



Questions I have: does anyone perform just because? Where do you go? How do you know if it's appreciated? Do any adult amateurs have recitals or is that cheesy?



Hello hilizanne smile You might like to have a look at this:

Spanish-Latin American Themed Recital: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2642416/1.html

There are many Recitals on this forum so you can give it a try and see if you enjoy it. It's clear that for some people they are very enjoyable and recitals give them a sense of purpose, which is what you want. I think you'd fit perfectly in these recitals. There are pianists who have been playing only for some months and others who've played for more than 40 years...so there's a lot of room in there. smile Can you believe nobody has chosen any Turina yet??? laugh


Maybe that particular Recital is not good for you at the moment, but then you can start thinking of whatever piece you want to play for the next General Recital (in some months' time). Maybe Clair de Lune??? I never get tired of hearing that one.

General Recital: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2643447/recital-46-may-15-2017.html#Post2643447


In this section of the forum (Pianist Corner) there are recital sometimes, but not often. Most Recitals are in the Adult Beginner section. All pianists are welcome there, but please just don't get scared if we ask you if you've written some Chopin's piece laugh (I'm a mature beginner myself). If we think of it, Chopin wrote lots of things after all...



Help! How can I record my playing so that it sounds correct? I am sure this has been discussed at length somewhere on here.


Hillary
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: hilizanne] #2652507
06/11/17 09:23 AM
06/11/17 09:23 AM
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Posts: 90
Adelaide, South Australia
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Adelaide, South Australia
Originally Posted by hilizanne
Hello my name is Hillary. I am not used to forums and I was about to just give up when I finally found this space to write! Yay!

The reason I am here is because I have no musical people in my life. None. It's like I am speaking a foreign language that no one else speaks. I tried to talk to my husband and he just told me he is not interested. He is blunt to a fault. Well there is one person who I can talk to: my piano trainer/technician, but he only comes by once a year.



Hi Hillary, I was very moved by your predicament. Not to be able to share a love of music with those close to you must be difficult.

And playing the piano can be such a lonely pursuit at the best of times. I've been playing for 60 years (Yes, I'm pretty old, but I started young!) and since retiring from work a while back, I've enjoyed playing more than ever.

Do you know what I did? I started a Classical Piano Club. I advertised in the local mall for interested amateur players who would like to get together and share playing experiences. I received two replies, and it started from there. We have about 15 members now and meet once a month. Everyone who joins seems to know of someone else who joins. Six to eight people attend most meetings, and we just play pieces for each other and talk about music and anything else we want to. Everyone is very encouraging, non-judgemental. It's a rule. And you don't have to play at every meeting if you don't want to. No-one forces anyone to do anything they don't want to.

The club is going well after 3 years in operation. People who haven't played seriously for years are now preparing and practicing with enthusiasm. The standard of playing varies but no-one cares. The more experienced players encourage the less experienced players.

We meet in members homes, so there is a good opportunity to play different pianos.

What do you think? Worth a try. And if you're in Adelaide, Australia, come to one of our meetings and join in. You would be more than welcome.

Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2655666
06/22/17 06:08 PM
06/22/17 06:08 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 8
Iowa
C
Castanea Offline
Junior Member
Castanea  Offline
Junior Member
C

Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 8
Iowa
I started piano at age twelve because there was a girl whom I liked who took piano lessons. In due time I learned that girls come and go. But music is forever.

At college, I ended up with a degree in piano performance. My teacher for two years had gone elsewhere, having been denied tenure, so after graduation I followed him, planning on a year of further study to prepare for graduate auditions at someplace like Julliard or Curtis. In truth, I wasn’t good enough, but I spent most of a year taking a couple of lessons a week, practicing intensively on a Steinway in a choir room in a basement, and working at McDonald’s. Excepting the last, it was heaven.

After a while, my teacher said: “You can go on like this, get a master’s degree from a good school – and be like me, barely making ends meet. You should look at other possibilities.” It so happened that there was a possibility right there in town (Sioux City, Iowa, that would be) – Western Iowa Tech, which in those days offered a twelve-month program in piano tuning and repair. I took the night-school version of it, taught by Frank Chiarello. This (again) was heaven.

I moved back home to a rural part of West Virginia and set up shop as a piano teacher and technician, living in what had once been my grandfather’s house. Business was slow; there was only one other technician in the area, but there weren’t many pianos. Or piano students.

In need of more income, I responded to a classified ad: the Baptist church in the county seat, seeking an organist/pianist. “I’ve never played an organ,” I told them. “But I’m pretty good at piano.” They replied: “You’re hired.” At $25 a week, for Sunday morning and evening services, plus Wednesday prayer meetings and choir rehearsals.

I caught the church music bug, most of all from playing the little pipe organ, an Estey. I taught myself from a tattered copy of the John Stainer organ method in the bench (and played lots of WTC preludes/fugues on the manuals until I figured out the pedals). I learned to play hymns. I started a children’s choir. After a couple of years, I went to graduate school and became a Genuine Organist, eventually earning the AGO’s Fellowship certificate.

Decades have passed. For most of my career, I’ve been a full-time organist/choirmaster and not so much a pianist, beyond what goes with the profession. Three years ago, our service structure changed so that I now had reason to play preludes for the “piano” service (the middle of three Sunday morning services at our place). Not organ and definitely not classical music, either organ or piano. There is printed piano music for such purposes, but I don’t like most of what I have seen or heard. The only thing for it was to learn to improvise. I had done some improvisation at the organ, but wasn’t very good at it, and I quickly found that the piano leads one in a different direction – less contrapuntal perhaps, more rhythmically oriented, coloristic in quite a different way than the organ.

And that made me fall back in love with the piano.

It didn’t hurt that we have a good instrument, a 1920’s Steinway L, rebuilt a few years ago and now very fine indeed. It is my privilege and delight to practice on it about five or six hours a week (about two-thirds of that being improvisation work), with another eight or ten hours across the room at the pipe organ, a historic mechanical-action instrument by Henry Pilcher’s Sons. Plus the choirs, a part of the work which I also love.

What brought me to the Piano Forums? I had a technical question about an action repair for the Steinway, and found the answer on the amazing Piano Technicians’ forum here. I have since lurked in many of the Forums here for about a year.

And retirement looms. I have not owned a piano since leaving West Virginia for graduate school; my only personally-owned instrument is a clavichord in my office and I don’t often play it, not with the Steinway and the Pilcher a few steps away.

But I am going to need a piano. Not an organ; a piano. For a lot of reasons, it is likely to be one of the hybrid grands, and I have learned much about them in the forums here. I want to keep learning more about improvisation at the piano (at the organ too), and I want to go back to the piano repertoire – Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Brahms. I hope I can make arrangements with a church to practice organ a couple days a week, for I love that repertoire, too. But at home: a piano.

I have not worked professionally as a technician for several decades, but wherever I have been church musician, I have taken care of the routine tuning and minor maintenance on the church instruments, even some not-so-minor work such as a few repinning/restringings. Not now; we are in an apartment with no shop space. Just tuning, minor repairs (and some of that on the organ, too). I continue to love the technical aspects of the piano.

All good wishes to all of you here at the piano forums. I am happy to finally be one of you.


My blog, "The Music Box" - http://castanea-d.blogspot.com/
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2657656
06/30/17 01:44 AM
06/30/17 01:44 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 812
Upstate SC
dobro Offline
500 Post Club Member
dobro  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 812
Upstate SC
Hello, I'm Robert. I'm an adult beginner and hope I'm posting correctly. I'm currently doing the piano video lessons online course (I think I'm ok posting that) and I have the Alfred method as well. I'm currently on a Casio 61 key but hoping to move up soon. M from upstate SC and enjoy all types of music. Ive only been on for a few days but can tell there's a lot of well informed people here. Thanks and Happy Playing.

Last edited by carolinakeys; 06/30/17 01:46 AM.

Alesis Coda Pro
PianoVideoLessons.com Currently unit 4
Faber All In One -Level 2
Grateful Dead fan since 1987
Re: New Visitors and Lurkers Please Read... [Re: Kreisler] #2665387
08/01/17 07:52 AM
08/01/17 07:52 AM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 2
Málaga, Spain
V
vasarino Offline
Junior Member
vasarino  Offline
Junior Member
V

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 2
Málaga, Spain
GREETINGS, I'M PLAYING WAGNER-BUSONI TRAUERMARSCH GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG. ANY PERFORMANCE SUGGESTIONS FOR BARS 26-29 AND 48-50? CAN'T GET IT UP TO SPEED.

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